We are a group of nine young people made up of Belfast Youth Forum, NI Youth Forum, and Children’s Law Centre to make up the Youth Mental Health Committee.
Elephant in the room is a youth-led mental health campaign that aims to reduce the negative stigma surrounding mental health, improve educational resources and get funding for more support services in Northern Ireland.
The idea for our campaign originated from an event that took place in October 2016 where over 100 young people expressed their frustrations at the lack of mental health education & support services available here. They called for the UNCRC’s recommendation to ‘Rigorously invest in child and adolescent mental health services in NI’ be fully implemented by our Government.
To help make this happen, young people at the event asked us to begin work on creating a mental health research campaign. Following this we as a group of young people came up with the idea for Elephant in the Room.
Department for Health – The ‘Elephant Coming out of the Dark Project’ is funded by the Department of Health and managed by Community Foundation Northern Ireland. Following the successful work of NIYF’s Elephant in the Room, we have recruited a group of over 20 young people to lead a Youth Steering Group that lobbies and campaigns to bring change to youth mental health services. The Elephant Coming out of the Dark Project is working with schools and other youth work providers to deliver a positive mental health message in the established mental health framework called LIFE MAPS. Through this project, young people and NIYF will speak the truth to power and create the change young people need in relation to mental health.